Five Signs Of a Real New York Pizzeria

Categories: Five Great...
famousrays.jpg
Flickr user nicksherman

If I had a dollar for every time I've been into a "New York Style" pizzeria and walked out amazed at how awful people are at interpreting the seminal food of my misspent youth, I'd be able to retire and never write another word again.

It's amazing--people will attempt to clone the accent (usually badly--I can spot a fake New York accent in just a few words, mostly because people think all New Yorkers talk the same way) and the attitude, with little success. They'll paint the Italian murals on the wall just like home, they'll stack up decorative cans of San Marzano tomatoes, and they'll have New York sports memorabilia, or more recently 9/11 memorabilia, but the pizza will be atrocious.

Here are five things to look for--besides the pizza itself--when attempting to judge the verisimilitude of a New York-style pizzeria.

These are, incidentally, not universal characteristics in New York pizza places. There are places like Lombardi's and Di Fara's that are head and shoulders above the rest even in New York, but these are things to look for in a place trying to replicate the everyday, run-of-the-mill Manhattan slice joint.

5. Reheated slices in display case

pizzacounter.jpg
Flickr user lonelybob

Whether they're sitting on elevated pizza trays or just on their baking pans in a glass (or Plexiglas) display case, the pizzas need to be out for inspection. They'll look awful, shriveled and gummy, but the beauty of a New York slice joint is that these ugly specimens rejuvenate beautifully with just two minutes in a pizza oven. If the counterman doesn't slip it into the oven, you're in a fake.

4. White pizza and/or grandma pizza

grandmaslice.jpg
Flickr user mesohungry

Any pizzeria can make pepperoni, sausage or vegetable pizza. When I see a white pizza--that's a pizza brushed with garlic oil and topped with ricotta and mozzarella cheese, which may or may not have tomatoes as a topping--I know chances are better that the pizza might be good. When I see a grandma slice--a square pizza in a Sicilian pan made with chopped tomatoes, a little cheese and garlic, maybe a streak of pesto (or maybe not)--I know they've at least actually been to New York, and specifically Long Island.

3. Shakers of oregano and garlic powder

oreganoshaker.jpg
Flickr user vissago

If you don't have shakers of dried oregano and garlic powder available, you are not a real New York-style pizzeria. Period. It's the sine qua non of condiments for pizza--you can have red chile flakes and grated Parmesan cheese, but it's the dried oregano and garlic powder that are required.


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43 comments
JGlanton
JGlanton

Al's in Costa Mesa meets all five.

Built4death
Built4death

Try Laventinas Big Cheese pizza in newport. Been around for 20 years and covers 4 out of 5 of you points.

Glasgow31
Glasgow31

I'm from Chicago and this is every fucking pizza place out there. NY pizza is dogshit. 

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

There's something about the expression "the seminal food of my misspent youth" that seems odd for some reason...

Classifieds
Classifieds

You know, your article reminded me of a story O. Henry story “A Little Local Colour”. When I got to "accents" so immediately surfaced such memories. And about the pizza - I still prefer not heated, and just cooked

Shaapa
Shaapa

The picture even shows a sign that says "No Slices, Cash Only"!  

Sdkjds
Sdkjds

Grimaldi's, pictured above, does not serve pizza by the slice. This article is retarded.

KINGRPG
KINGRPG

It is very beautiful restaurant.

Mr_G
Mr_G

Who gives a rat's a** when everyone knows that Chicago does pizza better?

New Haven Pizza
New Haven Pizza

I have tried 2 of the top 5 New York Pizzerias.  They were very good but I would rank them just below the premiere pizza places from New Haven (Pepe's, Modern, Sally's).

obbop
obbop

There's also something special about NYC and environs (including Jersey) delis that are different than those found further afield than a rather large area encompassing the NYC area extending..... oh.... X amount of miles that is not an exact figure but you will know the deli-type I write of when you enter and smell then taste the offerings, whether pizza or sandwiches or fixins' to make your own goodies...... delis vary in their offerings and the type of firm they are.

Some are full-fledged butcher shops offering large selections of raw and pre-cooked meat goodies such as ready-to-eat sausages, sandwich fixings, etc. Many of these also have a counter where you can have a sandwich or whatever made.

But, the odors of yumminess wafting from so many of those firms.

And the often very affordable prices fro sandwiches with a large being LARGE!!!!

And the potato salad (often made on-site, not that factory-made junk).

Once experienced the memories remain in one's mind and so seldom experienced outside the north-east USA though I have experienced a very few similar deli-types elsewhere but they are merely similar in some aspects, not clones.

guest
guest

Um, #5 and #1 are exactly what's WRONG with 75% of the crappy pizzerias in this city.

Bob's Your Uncle
Bob's Your Uncle

Not completely true: John's - which is my favorite NY Pizza (in NY, that is) does *not* sell by the slice.

John Mooney
John Mooney

Ciceros in Mission Viejo's is not to bad by NYC standards. By the slice, has that nice little bit of greasy drip, does white pies and has a pretty tasty meatball sub. They've become my local go-to for my slices  (especially when the crust is well done). No Sicilian though. And yes they have the shakers.

I actually think its harder to find a true New York brick oven pizza like Patsy's out here.

Hali Equality Cespedes-Chorin
Hali Equality Cespedes-Chorin

//If you don't have shakers of dried oregano and garlic powder available, you are not a real New York-style pizzeria. //

Yes! But where do you find such a place in Orange County? I only know one place that's anything close to it, and it's all the way over in Costa Mesa.

Wankbacca
Wankbacca

with all that advice... where locally would you suggest?

Lily Rice
Lily Rice

I just paìd $22.85 for an ìPad 2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic Lumix GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.78 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $625 which only cost me $62.81 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, CentHub.còm

Shirley Gagem
Shirley Gagem

this guy has serious issues Gustave dont let them get to you. If you do you'll be crying in your bed while you beat off on your mangina

MayhemInTheHood
MayhemInTheHood

There's a place by my office in Yorba Linda/Placentia, called Brooklyn Pizza. I'm not really sure how well it measures up to the real deal, but it's the first and only place I've had "white pizza", and it's really, really good. Almost too good, as it's the only thing I ever order.

Guest
Guest

Any places in OC you could recommend that come close?

JB
JB

Best one on this list is #3....particularly the oregano.  And the oregano (and red pepper flakes and parmesan) must be in those shakers that are depicted in the photo. 

When Young JB had the privilege of working at what was widely considered one of the 5 best pizzerias in NYC, he also learned a big safety tip: be sure to tighten the lid on those things before shaking, especially if you are patronizing a place right after some prankster schoolboys.  I can still remember the face of a visibly annoyed male customer walking back to the counter seeking a replacement slice for the one he just inadvertently drenched in garlic, having been victimized by a loosened cap.  (He was comped, btw.)

JB
JB

What do you think of Claro's in Tustin? [there are also other locations I've never been to.]  

The first time I walked in, circa 2005, and was greeted by stacked containers of pizzelles, I said to myself (as Marge Simpson did when visiting Toronto), "I'm home!"

Carrion Fairy
Carrion Fairy

I'd too really like to know as its been forever since I'd had a good one. How I miss that fold!

Jason Todrick
Jason Todrick

Funny considering Little Fuckin' Ceaser's is from Detroit.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Bull. I grew up in NJ. There's some great pizza there. But better than New York? What are you, from Pennsyltucky or something?

Also, pretty much all these rules go for New Jersey too. Every pizza parlor in the state's got the oregano shakers.

Rocco
Rocco

he's not a lil beotch. can a lil beotch take 9 inches of man meat??

Rocco
Rocco

HEY! you jimbronis want some of Rocco? huh? Huh!!? dont talk to my lil gus biotch like that!

Jew Friend
Jew Friend

that place sucks dong! La Rocco is a lil puto that trys and act like a tuff guy. I would beat up but hes just so macho.

Tal
Tal

La Rocco's Pizza in San Clemente, believe it or not!

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Whoever this loser is, he's created his own circle jerk between Rocco, Hank and Jew Friend. Lost your copy of Blue Boy, buddy?

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

I don't know what's the most offensive part of your comment—your name, your homophobic slur, or your taste in food...

Poppa Arellano
Poppa Arellano

did you say circle jerk son? its been along time since you pulled that off. Ever since the accident of 09 that we wont talk about

Packing 4
Packing 4

you lil cheek spreader! dont you have a rod to polish!

Jew Friend
Jew Friend

dude oozes with home erotic behavior Hank. This guy has his panties in a bunch for talking about Rocco. I think Rocco pins this lil fruit on a nightly basis and pounds his doh with pepperoni

Hank Mardoukus
Hank Mardoukus

I think you hurt lil Gustav's feelings. He must be a gay jew..

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Yay, folks: we have a troll with no life in our midst!

Jew Friend
Jew Friend

they all go together some how.. how you been anyways you lil joto? remember me form that website meat gazers?

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